Written by Ronemus & Vilensky on December 24, 2022
The holiday season is meant to be a time of joy, but for one family in Staten Island, this Christmas season took a deadly turn. Two siblings, aged 5 and 6, were killed when a fire engulfed a single-family home.
When New York City Fire Department (FDNY) personnel arrived at 1048 Van Duzer Street in the Stapleton neighborhood on the morning of December 23, 2022, they discovered a single-family structure ablaze. A neighbor had reported the fire after spotting thick black smoke pouring from the second story of the home.
The FDNY responded within three minutes of the call, but it was already too late for two of the six children in the home. All six of the children were aged 14 or younger. A brother aged six years old and his five-year-old sister were killed in the fire. Two other siblings received life-threatening injuries and were listed in critical condition; another two siblings received minor injuries in the house fire. All six children were found unconscious when firefighters arrived. One child died in the home, and the other died after treatment at a local hospital.
The cause of the fire was not immediately apparent, yet fire officials suspect the blaze started on the second floor and quickly spread. It was also reported that the childrens’ mother was not home at the time of the fire; when she was contacted by law enforcement personnel, she required treatment for shock.
At first, lithium-ion batteries were suspected as the source of the fire. According to the FDNY, more than 100 fires were caused in the greater New York City metro area by e-bike batteries in 2021 alone, resulting in 79 injuries and the deaths of four individuals. In this fire tragedy, however, investigators stated that they had found no evidence linking an e-bike battery with the fire.
Issues with the home’s heating system were also ruled out. Similar fires related to the use of space heaters occurred in the NYC area, including a January fire in the Bronx that killed 17 people; among those victims were nine children. Investigators continue to comb the Van Duzer Street site for evidence pointing to the source of the blaze.
Contact fire injury attorneys Ronemus & Vilensky if you or someone you loved was injured in a fire in New York.